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Plantation Melodies 63
Roark, whom a song cover reveals as an amusing person wearing long curls, Stephen entrusted his "Uncle Ned,*"19 earlier called "Unkle Ned/' composed at Pittsburgh. Another early product, "Lou'siana Belle," Stephen gave to Joseph Murphy,20 who sang so well with the Sable Harmonists in the spring of 1847 that the Gazette declared his singing was "alone worth the price of a ticket."21 Murphy later went to Pittsburgh22 and may have given Nelson Kneass a copy of "Oh! Susanna" for its first public presentation by Kneass on September 11, 1847.23
The fifth recipient was a member of the Empire Minstrels during their long engagement in Cincinnati in the autumn of 1849.24 The caption title of "Way down in Ca-i-ro" reads: "Written and Composed for James F. Taunt of the Empire Minstrels by Stephen C. Foster."25 When "the Empires" changed their name to Williams' Original Operatic Troupe, Taunt was listed as musical director.26 He had the pleasure of producing Stephen's music in Stephen's home city and, what is more, with credit to Stephen. The Morning Post of Pittsburgh announced on February 27, 1850, that "this band ... an excellent one [will] sing tonight a couple of new songs written by Mr. Foster."
* The caption title on the first page of the Millet edition of the song reads: "Old Uncle Ned. Written & Composed for Wm. Roark, Of the Sable Harmonists. By S. C. Foster of Cincinnati."